Calgary ParkPlus multi-million lawsuit and ownership settlement – An exclusive inside look at a “key” piece of evidence

Tuesday, 9 April, 2013

ParkPlus settlement with Dale Fraser, former CPA General Manager

Background of the “key” piece of evidence

Now that Calgary Parking Authority (CPA) has settled the Parkplus parking management system ownership dispute and disclosed some key information (see endnotes), this reporter feels comfortable in sharing an exclusive inside look at one piece of evidence against Mr. Dale Fraser’s ownership claim without risking harm to the city and CPA’s legal case.

This key piece of evidence (you can judge for yourself to see if you agree it is “key” or not) was an August 2008 video interview with Mr. Dale Fraser conducted by this reporter. In the extensive August 2008 interview (where Alderman Dale Hodges was also interviewed), a variety of ParkPlus topics (including patents) were discussed. This video evidence was almost “lost” at one point as it was originally uploaded and stored on the now discontinued Google Video service!

Fortunately, after some help from a Google engineer friend, the August 2008 interview was recovered along with a few hundred uploaded videos. The video interview was useful enough that Calgary Parking Authority licensed it to help its case which is why I’m claiming this as an “exclusive inside look“.

Unlike the parties involved in the legal settlement (Calgary Parking Authority, City of Calgary, Mr. Dale Fraser, and Mr. Allan Bazar), I am an independent reporter and not bound by any confidentiality agreement.

An exclusive inside look at a key piece of evidence

In the August 2008 interview, former Calgary Parking Authority General Manager Mr. Dale Fraser told this reporter,

”Calgary Parking Authority did create the proprietary approach to this new parking system. And we [CPA] do have a patent-pending on this approach at this time.”

During the 30+ minutes interview, at NO point did Mr. Fraser leave this reporter with the impression the pending Canada/US ParkPlus patent was his (or his & Mr. Allan Bazar’s) personal invention or intellectual property. In fact, Mr. Fraser seemed to me quite clear in explaining the system was developed by MTS Allstream with the funds/resources from Calgary Parking Authority.

As suggested in “The Patents” section in the 2008 August report “ParkPlus by Calgary Parking Authority – Reimagining the Wheels“,

US patent is one of the most important ones to apply for, simply because the US is one of the largest markets and it has a reasonably strong patent protection regime.

Here is my 2008 interview video (pay attention to time code ~3:40 to ~3:50).

[Please note that the interview is protected by copyright. License and use requests (including for press and media) are to be submitted via email and will be handled promptly.]

This article is cross-posted by me to examiner.

Endnotes: Although the settlement agreement has confidentiality clauses, the parties agree to disclose the following information (emphasis added) and I quote from the Media Release – ParkPlus Settlement – April 2013,

(1) The Defendants, Dale Fraser, Allan Bazar and 1707626 Alberta Ltd., (now Intelli-Park Corporation) acknowledge that the City of Calgary and CPA are the exclusive owners of the ParkPlus SystemTM and that none of the Defendants has any right, title or interest whatsoever in the ParkPlus SystemTM;
(2) While the ParkPlus SystemTM is valuable and all necessary consideration for settlement is acknowledged, there is no payment by the City of Calgary or CPA of any money whatsoever to any of the Defendants or any other person;
(3) The claims and counterclaims in the action will be wholly discontinued without costs; and
(4) The parties release each other from all claims and counterclaims in the action including any claims relating to the ParkPlus SystemTM or the employment of Dale Fraser and Allan Bazar with the City of Calgary and CPA.


Viagra free-for-all: Viagra patent deemed impotent by Supreme Court of Canada

Thursday, 8 November, 2012

In a ground breaking 7-0 unanimous decision “Teva Canada Ltd. v. Pfizer Canada Inc., 2012 SCC 60″ today, Supreme Court of Canada has declared Pfizer’s Viagra patent void in Canada with serious sales/financial implications. Quoting Justice LeBel (emphasis added),

Patent 2,163,446 is void.

The patent application did not satisfy the disclosure requirements set out in the Patent Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. P‑4 (“Act”).  The patent system is based on a “bargain”: the inventor is granted exclusive rights in a new and useful invention for a limited period in exchange for disclosure of the invention so that society can benefit from this knowledge.  Sufficiency of disclosure lies at the very heart of the patent system, so adequate disclosure in the specification is a precondition for the granting of a patent.

According to Globe & Mail, “Pfizer Canada made about $80-million last year from sales of Viagra.” Company doesn’t have to apply for patents and disclose the secrets of their inventions. Like Coke just keeps its formula as a trade secret. But if a company wants to get patents, the disclosure requirements are no joking matter and can mean billions as in this case.

Lets be clear on one thing, the declaration of Pfizer’s Viagra patent void doesn’t mean you get Viagra free as some men wish to! It does mean the patent protection afforded Pfizer exclusive right is now gone, and Canadian users of Viagra can expect cheaper generic version of Viagra type drugs to be available soon. In fact, according to CBC News,

The unanimous decision opens the door for Teva to introduce a generic version of Viagra. By the afternoon on Thursday, Teva had already moved to do just that, posting a message on its website, announcing the creation of Novo-Sildenafil and noting the product is available via prescription.

P.S. I am not a lawyer in Canada or U.S. so you should check with expert first. My understanding is that under the U.S. patent and trademark system, the “disclosure requirement” is better know as “2165 The Best Mode Requirement (linked to USPTO)” which I relied heavily in a 2006 patent review I did on an entrepreneur’s patent application within an episode of CBC award-winning hit TV show Dragons’ Den!

NOTE: This article is cross-posted by me at examiner.com


“New” Weapon in Apple-Samsung Patent War – Stanley Kubrick’s 2001

Thursday, 25 August, 2011

Over the years, I have actually tagged quite a few of my articles with the keyword “patent” and I am no fan of patent war. So I am happy to read “Samsung says Apple lifted iPad from Kubrick’s 2001“. Apparently Samsung is trying to use Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001, in particular the following YouTube video as an example of prior art!


Summary of Microsoft v. i4i Oral Argument @ US Supreme Court

Monday, 18 April, 2011

Check out Patently O’s “Summary of Microsoft v. i4i Oral Argument“‘ See a rough US Supreme Court transcript of this case. [HT Patently O]

See also National Post, “Chairman of i4i confident Microsoft defeated

““We think it went tremendously well,” he [Loudon Owen, chairman of Toronto based i4i] said in a telephone interview after leaving the Washington courtroom. “I would be very very surprised if it wasn’t a favourable ruling for us.””

Reuters, “Top court hears Microsoft appeal on i4i patent

CNet, “Supreme Court queries Microsoft on patent law

“Just as Microsoft lawyer Thomas Hungar began presenting its arguments, Justices Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Elena Kagen pressed him on the legal precedent in a 1934 case that seemed to mandate using a higher evidentiary standard.

“The language of that opinion is extremely broad,” Kagan said, according to a transcript. “And if you read that opinion, no one would gather from that opinion the kinds of limits that you’re suggesting on it.

Ginsburg, too, seemed to read the earlier ruling as requiring a higher standard of evidence than Microsoft proposes.

“An infringer who assails the validity of a patent…bears a heavy burden of persuasion and fails unless his evidence has more than a dubious preponderance,” Ginsburg said.”


Worth Reading: Securing privacy, Showrunner DIY TV promos, Legal strategies in Charlie Sheen case, High noon in i4i-Microsoft fight

Monday, 18 April, 2011

* Guardian, Cory Doctorow: ‘The most powerful mechanism we have for securing the privacy of individuals is for them to care about that privacy’ – video – “Blogger, writer and activist Cory Doctorow on social networking, revolution and how to avoid haemorrhaging personal information online”

* The Hollywood Reporter, Q&A: ‘Cougar Town’ Boss Bill Lawrence Airs His Frustrations With Disney

THR: So what does work?

Lawrence: There are some shows like Modern Family or American Idol where lightening strikes. Otherwise, you have two options. First, you build word-of-mouth.

THR: And the second?

Lawrence: Keep your loyal fans interested by giving them as much access, content and interaction as possible. That’s what I like as a TV viewer. For me, every show that I’ve felt like, “Wow, they actually care what the fans think” or “they’re actually writing for somebody,” I’m more loyal to. On Scrubs, we gave our fans extra content and access to the cast and writers. And in return, we could count on them to find the show on a network that moved the show about 20 times. Read the rest of this entry »


Toronto’s i4i v. Microsoft at US Supreme Court

Sunday, 17 April, 2011

“The United States Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments Monday for and against changing U.S. patent law to make it easier to invalidate patents – the latest chapter in a historic legal battle between a small Toronto company [i4i] and the largest software firm [Microsoft] on earth.”

For some insightful discussions and “light” readings, see following from Patently O,

* “Microsoft v. i4i: Shifting Weight of Evidence versus Shifting Burden of Proof

* “Briefing Microsoft v. i4i: Amicus Briefs Supporting Easier Invalidation of Patents in Court


Kodak patent moment: $1 billion from Apple & RIM

Saturday, 26 March, 2011

Here is a $1 billion Kodak moment. Kodak has already settled with Samsung and LG for a combined $964 million over the same patent.

* Bloomberg, “Kodak Wins a Round in $1 Billion Apple, RIM Patent Dispute

“The patent covers a feature that previews low-resolution versions of a moving image while recording still images at a high resolution. Higher resolution requires more processing power and storage space. Kodak, which generated $838 million from patents last year, contends the image-preview feature is used in every digital camera and phone with a camera.”

* AP, “Kodak patent complaint against Apple, RIM revived


Google to translate some 50 million European patents

Thursday, 24 March, 2011

This is cool! As a big fan and frequent user of Google US Patent search, it is real nice to see Google opening up the world of patents in other languages. Sure, the translation may be bad/very bad to start but it will help a little. For the record.

Google in translation pact for European patents (see also ABC AP feed)
CAMILLE RUSTICI
PARIS— The Associated Press
Published Thursday, Mar. 24, 2011 1:54PM EDT
Last updated Thursday, Mar. 24, 2011 1:56PM EDT

Google said Thursday it has reached an agreement with European patent authorities to use its online technology to translate some 50 million patents.

Google Inc. (GOOG-Q586.294.130.71%) and the Munich-based European Patent Office will co-operate to use Google Translate technology to translate patents into 28 European languages as well as into Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian.

The deal with enable researchers and the curious to search for patents in the EPO’s three official languages — English, French and German — and translate them on the fly on the EPO’s website. The translations are to serve informational and research purposes only, and will not replace legal requirements for patents to be translated by professional translators.

The project is expected to be completed in 2014.”


Honibe on CBC Dragons’ Den – The Business and Patent

Thursday, 3 February, 2011

Honibe pitched their dry solid honey “honey you can hold business on the Jan 19, 2011 episode of CBC Dragons’ Den. Although I haven’t tried the product and don’t know how good/bad it tastes, it seems like a good idea (even it may seem a bit pricey).

Knowing I won’t have time in the next while to write a more detail article about Honibe, let me share with you what I’ve found so far. Here are links to Honibe’s Canadian trademark (TMA729391) and patent (CA 2649936) for interested readers. I had tried but was unable to find Honibe’s US patent filings (to me, US patent is important to have since US is a much bigger market than Canada). For those that are new to patents, one can learn a lot about about a business from its patents (in this case, Honibe’s patent).

National Post has an article “Sweet deals buzzing around honey firm” about the pitch and the business and provided an update of the deal. News from CBC, “Dragons’ Den offers $1M deal to P.E.I. company

There is a press release from the governments,  “Federal and Provincial Governments Congratulate Island Abbey Foods on Winning International Award” when Honibe won the prize for Best in Canada 2010, Best of Sweet Grocery Category 2010 and Best New Food Product in the World 2010, the Global SIAL d’Or, at the Paris-based awards.

Here is a video of Honibe Dragons’ Den pitch.


In case you get sued … by Steve Jobs or Bill Gates

Tuesday, 9 March, 2010

Good article, “Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal“.


Inventors Eye from USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office)

Friday, 26 February, 2010

If you are an inventor or cares about the business of inventions and patents, I highly recommend you subscribe to the Inventors Eye from USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). Here is the intro info from Inventors Eye (emphasis added),

“Welcome to the first issue of Inventors Eye, a new electronic publication by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Inventors Eye is for and about America’s independent and small entity inventor community. It is a community that has always been a vital and vibrant part of America’s invention heritage.

Inventors Eye will appear every other month. Each issue will feature information you can use, tips on working with the USPTO; events, organizations and meetings of interest to the community; issues that impact independent and small entity inventors; and stories about people like you who have become successful inventors.We also want to hear from you with your ideas for stories and features that will enable us to better serve you through this publication.”

You can start off by reading Under Secretary of Commerce and USPTO Director David Kappos’s “Open Letter to the Independent Inventor and Small Business Communities – Patent Reform: Good for Independent Inventors and Small Businesses“.

And read about “Protect Your Innovation: Avoid Scams“.

By the way, as part of my management consulting services, I work with entrepreneurs with cutting edge patented technologies. Having good patented technologies don’t guarantee success but it is a good start.

[HT Dennis]


i4i v. Microsoft (CAFC 2009-1504)

Tuesday, 29 December, 2009

From TorStar “U.S. appeals court backs T.O. firm over Microsoft“,

“Microsoft Corp. has lost an appeal against a small Toronto company in a patent fight that cost the world’s biggest software maker $290 million (U.S.) and forced it to alter its ubiquitous MS Word program.”

i4i v. Microsoft (CAFC 2009-1504)

Since 2003, versions of Microsoft Word, a word processing and editing software, have had XML editing capabilities. In 2007, i4i filed this action against Microsoft, the developer and seller of Word.

These two commentaries on the case in The Patent Prospector were fun to read,

“As with other issues in this case, Microsoft screwed its own pooch with procedural sloppiness.”

“There was no hesitation to rub salt in that wound.”

[via The Patent Prospector]


Bilski v. Kappos: Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Tuesday, 10 November, 2009

For those who like to see what the U.S. Supreme Court Justices are thinking and asking about the important patent law case of Bilski v. Kappos, check out the oral arguments transcript posted at Patently O.

*******

Nov 15, 2009 Update: Here is an insightful comment from Patent Baristas on the Bilski case where Stephen listed some of the questions a few of the Supreme Court Justices asked at the oral argument.


Confession of a ParkPlus addict – A Parking Meter that puts money back in your pocket

Friday, 12 September, 2008
ParkPlus System

ParkPlus System

In my August Reimagining the Wheels article, I blogged in detail (including detailed video interviews) about the ParkPlus System.

Now, after only one use of the mobile phone ParkPlus a few weeks ago, I am officially a ParkPlus addict! It takes like 30 seconds or less to activate a parking session. And then when I finished my meeting early, I simply called the system and it automatically credited me the unused time (for $4.95 that day)! So cool!

In the old days, I probably would have put in the money for the full maximum two hours and then there is simply no way to get the money back for unused time. But now, mobile ParkPlus puts the money back into my account. Very nice, thank you very much!

P.S. Thanks a lot to ParkPlus’ Shelley for setting up a trial account for me.

P.P.S. Just found that there are Chinese instructions (together with English) in the Chinatown ParkPlus machines. Really nice. Good job.


ParkPlus by Calgary Parking Authority – Reimagining the Wheels

Thursday, 14 August, 2008

May 21, 2011 Update: Fired CPA manager Dale Fraser stated in 2008, “Calgary Parking Authority did create the proprietary approach to this new parking system. And we [CPA] do have a patent-pending on this approach …”

Dec 4, 2008 Update: See Privacy Investigation Report concerning Calgary ParkPlus

*******

ParkPlus System

ParkPlus System

In this Reimagining the Wheels article, I will talk about the ParkPlus System, a Calgary Parking Authority (CPA) created state-of-the-art parking system. ParkPlus is much more advanced than the good old parking meters, the newer pay and display system, or even this type of hybrid meter. Regular readers may remember I have previously promised to blog more about ParkPlus here. Well, I’ve finally kept my promise. (big smile)

To provide a deeper insight into ParkPlus, I’ve also taken time to interview CPA’s general manager Mr. Dale Fraser and Calgary Alderman Mr. Dale Hodges, two of the participants in the creation of the ParkPlus system.

The Business of Parking

You may not realize this but Calgary Parking Authority is a completely self-funded operation. In 2007, after expenses, CPA actually *paid* a total of $17.9 million to the City of Calgary (an $1.9 million increase from $16 million in 2006).

Now, observant readers will notice that old style parking meters sometimes got vandalized or money stolen. To give you a rough idea of the monetary impact, CPA’s meter repairs, parts, and overtime costs have totaled more than several hundred thousand dollars since 2006. I will mention how ParkPlus addresses these challenges in “The Technologies” section.

The ParkPlus system can also reduce parking enforcement cost ($6.3 million in 2007) by making parking enforcement more efficient. And ParkPlus has the potential to increase revenue from parking operations and enforcement by increasing tickets purchased (because it is more convenient for people to pay by credit cards or cell phones) and issuing more parking tickets to violators (with photos as proofs). (note: As a driver that doesn’t enjoy being ticketed, I am torn to call “issuing more parking tickets” a “benefit“!)

Read the rest of this entry »


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